Well, fans. Those of you who have been reading me from the beginning know that Iâ<80><99>m certainly a advocate for the WWE. You also know Iâ<80><99>m not afraid to call them out when what they put on television is, well, not up to par.
But here lately, chances are olâ<80><99> Sean Oâ<80><99>Mac has been sounding like a mark. But letâ<80><99>s face it. This is the season for the best stuff as WrestleMania nears and – in my opinion – both the stars and the writers have been stepping it up lately, as should be expected.
This weekâ<80><99>s episode of Raw, with few exceptions, held true to those expectations. Fans are continuously given ample doses of twists and turns with a touch of the dramatic thrown in for good measure. Enjoy it, fellow WWE watchers. Any of us who have been watching for years know that this is the best time of the year.
And why not start things off with some of that drama, eh? Starting off the show with a bang, GM William Regal introduced the contenders for the triple-threat match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, supposedly for a photo op. Well, you knew this one wasnâ<80><99>t going to stay civil, right?
After exchanging a few words with each other, mainly Cena expressing his displeasure with his congratulatory Pedigree last week and Orton saying he would remain champ, it was time for things to degenerate. And if there is one thing that Cena and Triple H can agree on, itâ<80><99>s that they donâ<80><99>t like Orton.
The two were eye to eye for a while, but promptly agreed to dispose of Orton before starting at it themselves. The champ surprised them both, however, when he reappeared in the ring and dished out RKOs to both challengers. A good move considering how Orton has managed to retain the belt through some of his recent matches â<80>” he does still need to be regarded as a legitimate threat.
Confidently strolling backstage afterwards, Orton was confronted by Mr. Kennedy who informed him that after winning the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania there would be no waiting â<80>” he would challenge for the title that very night. Really, does Orton have any friends left?
The twist came when Regal set Cena and Trips to take on Orton and Kennedy in the main event this night. The match was a good one, but didnâ<80><99>t quite hit the â<80><9c>greatâ<80> level tonight. Cena made Kennedy tap out to the STFU, after which it appeared Trips and Cena were going to go at it once more. Instead, an unhappy Kennedy came up behind Cena â<80>” in full view of The Game â<80>” and dealt the Doctor of Thuganomics a Mic Check.
Those of us watching for an anticipated heel turn from Trips were greatly disappointed once again, however. Here was the perfect opportunity for The Game to finally go off and dish out some heavy punishment to Cena. But then again, with the hater/lover crowd pretty well split on Cena, I suppose Trips would have been held in even higher regard to many. It would have been a good shot for HHH to perhaps become nearly as polarizing as Cena, but oh well.
Either way, despite all the hate mail I get regarding these three, Iâ<80><99>m looking forward to this WM bout and loving the build-up that the writers are doing. It will be interesting to see what else transpires as the weeks go on.
Moving on, the rumors have been confirmed now. The legendary Nature Boy Ric Flair will face Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania in what will likely be Flairâ<80><99>s final match. (Sean Oâ<80><99>Mac takes a moment to wipe a tear from his eye.) Every reader knows that I hold Ric in the highest regard. But Iâ<80><99>ve also acknowledge that heâ<80><99>s certainly looked his age at times in recent matches.
Well, I say that â<80>” but letâ<80><99>s be honest here. How many 59-year-olds do you know who could keep up with â<80><9c>The Man?â<80> None come to mind.
Thing is, I fully expect this match between the two legends to be well beyond the level that weâ<80><99>ve seen lately. Lord knows that Flair is going to want to go out on a high note, so the two will probably be kicking it into high gear preparing for the match. Secondly, HBK is displaying an emotional side that doesnâ<80><99>t want to be responsible for the retirement of Flair.
So what will we see at WM? Will Shawn hesitate at a critical moment when he would normally dish out some Sweet Chin Music? Could Flair become â<80><9c>infuriatedâ<80> with HBK because he doesnâ<80><99>t feel Shawn is giving it his all? Might The Showstopper simply refuse to pin Flair? While it is widely suspected this will indeed be Flairâ<80><99>s finale, the opportunities abound in this one.
Itâ<80><99>s a match that yours truly will both be looking forward to and dreading.
In another key moment tonight, Chris Jericho and Jeff Hardy put on one hell of a match, despite what looked like one or two botches. Hardyâ<80><99>s hot streak gave way as Jericho won the contest and earned himself a spot in the MitB match, but the back-and-forth action here was fun to watch.
Big news was revealed when it was announced that Dwayne â<80><9c>The Rockâ<80> Johnson would indeed be on hand at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to induct his father and grandfather, Rocky Johnson and High Chief Peter Maivia. Iâ<80><99>d heard this was possible for a while now, and hoped that family ties would overrule Johnsonâ<80><99>s apparent hesitance to be affiliated with the WWE. It would be an exciting moment indeed if, along with the ceremony appearance, The Rock were to surprise everyone with some involvement at WM â<80>” but I wouldnâ<80><99>t hold my breath on that one.
Hornswoggleâ<80><99>s saga took a hard turn tonight as a seemingly remorseful Vince came out to offer a public apology to his â<80><9c>sonâ<80> for the beating he took last week at the hands of JBL. Vince also demanded that the perpetrator come out and apologize â<80>” and it appeared as though JBL was complying with the order until he followed up by saying he was sorry he hadnâ<80><99>t done it sooner.
JBL told Vince that he had it on good authority (although he used a different word here I canâ<80><99>t recall at the moment) that Hornswoggle, although ignorant to the fact, was not Vinceâ<80><99>s son after all. Rather, it was a scheme concocted by Vinceâ<80><99>s family with the full knowledge of Finlay, who was Hornswoggleâ<80><99>s actual father.
Well, it makes sense from a storyline point of view as protective as Finlay has been of the little guy. I guess weâ<80><99>ll just have to wait and see where this goes from here.
Tag champs Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly took out Santino Marella and Carlito when Santino was distracted by Mariaâ<80><99>s interaction with Jerry Lawler. To be honest, Kingâ<80><99>s constant calling out to Maria during the match became quite annoying â<80>” then suddenly made sense in the end. Iâ<80><99>d say if you couple tonightâ<80><99>s events with the fact that Santino doesnâ<80><99>t want Maria to appear in Playboy, weâ<80><99>re sure to see a falling out between this odd couple in the near future.
Oh, and have I mentioned before that I think Rhodes seems to improve each week that I see him in action? Iâ<80><99>m sure I have, but it still holds true. I donâ<80><99>t know that the kid has the look or charisma to be a top-tier superstar, but heâ<80><99>s sure putting on some good shows and Iâ<80><99>ve enjoyed watching his progress.
In other action, D.H. Smith was in action tonight. Unfortunately for him it was to be completely squashed by a recently resurgent Umaga.
HBK, prior to his heart-to-heart with Flair, took on Lance Cade in singles action and, after winning by DQ, dished out SCM to both Cade and Trevor Murdoch.
Well, thatâ<80><99>s another wrap fans. Be sure to watch for this weekâ<80><99>s edition of Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches â<80>” one that will require mucho input from the loyal Sean Oâ<80><99>Maniacs out there.
Don’t like my take? Let’s hear yours! Send me your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org… the best and worst of the bunch may be featured in editions of Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80><99>s Pullinâ<80><99> No Punches. Remember, short ones are good, long ones may be cut, and keep the name of the column in mind when you come looking for answers!
Miss an article? Want to look back over Sean O’Mac’s past columns? Now you can check them out on his MySpace page, www.myspace.com/wzseanomac.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?